As the hours tick by, it is looking more and more likely that Jorge Masvidal will step in and face welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 251 on Saturday on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.Masvidal had been expected to be Usman’s next challenger for quite some time, but that fell apart when Masvidal held out for a sweeter deal on his contract. Not coming to terms with him, the UFC shifted to a red-hot Gilbert Burns, who agreed to face Usman in the UFC 251 main event on Fight Island.Burns, however, was ruled out on Friday when his pre-flight COVID-19 test result came back positive, forcing him out of the bout.Masvidal and former challenger Colby Covington quickly confirmed that they were willing to step in and fight Usman.The UFC was more keen on Masvidal challenging Usman since he was already deemed to be the next challenger and Covington’s last fight was a late fifth-round TKO loss to Usman in December.ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on Sunday tweeted that Usman and Masvidal were both on their way to Las Vegas, which is where they would fly out of on Monday if they were to get to Abu Dhabi in time to fight at UFC 251. They must first clear COVID-19 screening before being allowed to fly, so it is unlikely that the UFC would announce the bout until they are cleared.One of Masvidal’s managers, Malki Kawa, posted a couple of images on Instagram, seeming to back the idea that Masvidal was in preparation to head to Abu Dhabi. One image was a sort of “Bat Signal” call to Masvidal with Kawa noting the location at Yas Island (where Fight Island is located). The other showed Masvidal getting a COVID-19 antibody test.With UFC 251 just days away, we’re sure to no soon, likely late Sunday or early Monday, whether or not the fight is official, keeping Usman in the main event.* * *TRENDING > Outpouring of support for Khabib Nurmagomedov following his father’s death* * *https://www.instagram.com/p/CCPlzNjHQYt/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_linkhttps://www.instagram.com/p/CCPOPuInLtT/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Category: UFC / MMA
UFC / MMA News
Gilbert Burns was pulled from the UFC 251 main event opposite welterweight champion Kamaru Usman after testing positive for COVID-19. Fellow contenders Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington are each prepared to step in and fight.Burns had been expected to challenge Usman following a blistering six-fight victory run that includes two bouts already this year, despite the pandemic. But now that pandemic has caught up to Burns and stalled his momentum.He tested positive prior to boarding a plane in Las Vegas headed to UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.It is now unclear what happens with Usman, but Masvidal and Covington both appear prepared to step in.Masvidal has been in the midst of a contract dispute with the UFC, so it remains to be seen if the promotion is willing to move on its position now that its monstrous UFC 251 fight card has been disrupted. There are two other championship bouts slated for UFC 251, but the tripleheader was expected to be the quite the cherry on top of a stacked fight card.Masvidal’s manager, Abraham Kawa, told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that his fighter was “absolutely willing” to step in and fight Usman. That, of course, doesn’t address the contract dispute. But given the UFC’s position of having a challenger drop out, it certainly gives Masvidal a bit more leverage.If the UFC opts to keep Usman on the UFC 251 fight card, there is another option though. Also talking to Helwani, Covington said that he has remained ready for just such an opportunity, in fact expecting it to happen.”My offer stands. Ball is in the UFC’s court,” he said. “I’m here to save the day against Marty (Usman) or Judas (Masvidal). Feed me either one. I’m ready. Knew to be ready for this seven months ago.”* * *TRENDING > Outpouring of support for Khabib Nurmagomedov following his father’s death* * *What the UFC opts to do remains to be seen, but it appears they could keep the UFC 251 main event intact if they can come to terms with Usman and either Masvidal or Covington. Masvidal would appear to be the more logical match-up, as Usman is less than a year removed from a TKO stoppage of Covington at UFC 245.UFC 251 takes place on July 11. It kickstarts a 15-day span that will see the UFC promote four events on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.* * * Dana White addresses Jorge Masvidal demanding more money(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)
Welterweight title challenger Gilbert Burns is out of the UFC 251 main event after testing positive to COVID-19. Burns (19-3) was supposed to fight champion Kamaru Usman (16-1) next weekend at the fight promotion’s first event at Fight Island on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He trained for the bout in Florida and traveled from The Sunshine State to Las Vegas. He was tested upon arrival in Las Vegas and the test results came back positive. His brother, Herbert Burns, and coach Greg Jones also tested positive for the virus. TRENDING > Conor McGregor offers condolences on the loss of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father The three were quarantined and did not board the chartered flight to the Middle East. With Burns out of the event, the fight card now features two world title bouts. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and former champion Max Holloway rematch and former featherweight champion Jose Aldo and Petr Yan face off for the vacant bantamweight title. It’s unclear if Burns will be replaced or if Usman will be pulled from the event as well.
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* * *Before the location of the now-infamous Fight Island was revealed, UFC president Dana White was afraid that the actuality of the set-up wouldn’t quite live up to the mythical hype that developed over social media. Now, however, he appears to be embracing the hype.Just check out this latest UFC Fight Island promo that looks like something straight out of Hollywood. Embrace the hype… only the strong will survive.(Video courtesy of BT Sport)* * *TRENDING > UFC first sport back Fight Island promo* * * Dana White details UFC Fight Island”It’s 10 square miles where only we exist on the island. It’s going to be a very unique experience, very cool.”(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)
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